Taking a selfie may seem innocent on the surface, but what happens when a group of people are so consumed with getting the perfect photo that they forget they are holding a life in their hands? The result is the death of innocent animals.
It may seem hard to believe that people could be so bent on getting a selfie that they would allow an animal to die right before their eyes. However, as The Huffington Post recently reported, that is exactly what tourists allowed to happen to a baby shark on a New York beach. In the article, Joanna Zelman recounts how she witnessed a baby shark die at the hands of tourists attempting to get the perfect selfie with the stranded animal.
Zelman says it was an ordinary day at the beach until she saw a tightly huddled group of people causing some commotion near the water. When she approached the group she noticed that the people had caught a baby shark and were all taking turns posing with the wiggling creature. Zelman says one-by-one the people took turns holding the shark, sometimes pulling it out of the water for that “perfect photo.”
As more and more people began grabbing at the shark, Zelman noticed it was in obvious distress. She kept asking the crowd of people, “Shouldn’t you put it back?” Her pleas to free the shark were ignored and more people made their way to get the photo of a lifetime. Zelman says:
“A big man with thick muscles and deeply tanned skin won the grab-off with two hands on the animal. ‘Joey! Hey Joey take my picture!’ he shouted to a friend. The shark’s torso stopped wiggling, and he slowly gaped his mouth once, and then let it hang open. ‘You guys! I think the shark is dying!’ I exclaimed. A few heads turned my way, then returned back to taking photos. ‘This shark is dying. You guys are literally killing this shark for a photo, can’t you see that?’ I asked.”
Zelman’s pleas were ignored and so she finally was forced to scream at the crowd to let the shark go, it was dying. The man holding the shark eventually agreed only after stating it doesn’t matter “it is already dead.” Zelman stood firm until the shark was placed back in the water, its dead body left to float back to sea.
Sadly, this isn’t the only animal that was killed in an attempt for the perfect photo. An injured dolphin that was stranded on a beach in China was subjected to what amounts to nothing short of torture before ultimately succumbing to its injuries. Four men can be seen in photos lifting the animal out of the water for a selfie and subsequent photos. The lifeguards said that the men were impeding on the rescue of the dolphin.
According to the South China Morning Post, lifeguards did not have the proper equipment to save the dolphin so they had to call for help. In the meantime, Sanya City tourists gathered around the stranded dolphin for nearly 30 minutes to take photographs. Several men posed with the dolphin, eventually lifting it out of the water. This continued until local lifeguards surrounded the dolphin and guided it away to prevent further manhandling.
Though the rescue group doesn’t know if the dolphin would have survived had it not been handled by so many tourists, they do know that the animal would have had a better chance had it been left alone until rescue groups arrived.
What do you think of the trend of taking selfies with wildlife? Has our society gotten to a point that a photo is seen as more valuable than the life of an animal, such as the dolphin and shark that died due to some tourists’ need for a selfie? Do you think animal abuse charges should be filed for cases such as these?